The Dhivehi Post website has leaked a document it claims is the ticket reservation for leader of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) Ahmed Thasmeen Ali, and Speaker of the Parliament Abdulla Shahid, to fly to India for “secret talks” with GMR.
The website last week alleged that Thasmeen and Shahid had received US$1 million from Indian infrastructure giant GMR to cease opposition to the firm’s take over of Male’ International Airport.
The booking, apparently made in the name of the two DRP MPs, appears to have been reserved by ‘FCM Travel Solutions India Ltd GMR’ and was issued on October 26 for travel on October 30 to Delhi, via Colombo on Sri Lankan Airlines. The cost of each ticket was 42,749 Indian rupees (US$934).
Minivan News can confirm that air travel arranged by GMR for Maldivian journalists visiting the opening of Delhi Terminal 5 in July was booked by the Indian corporate travel firm ‘FCM Travel Solutions(India)Ltd’, and is seeking to clarify the legitimacy of the tickets.
Last week Managing Director of GMR Male International Airport Limited, P Sripathy, told Minivan News the allegations were “totally false and baseless, and very disappointing and damaging to our reputation. We have never met any members of the opposition to date.”
Thasmeen and Shahid likewise dismissed the allegations as ”baseless and false”.
”Out of all the articles published by the Dhivehi Post so far, most of them are untrue,” Thasmeen told Minivan News. ”Like I said before, I did not go to India and I have never met anyone from GMR.”
Thasmeen said that the website was operated by “political figures” and their intentions was to split the DRP leadership and “smear its respect.”
”They are doing this for political gain. If you look at the articles very carefully and try to understand who runs it, it becomes very clear,” he said. ”I do not want to tell the media yet.”
Shahid n”I have not even been to India lately, they are all lies and false accusations,” Shahid said. ”It is a website that publishes false allegations very often, it is operated by some persons who stay hidden.”
Shahid said the aim of the website was to split the DRP and ferment aggression inside parliament.
The Dhivehi Post claimed that it was possible Shahid and Thasmeen would not have an Indian immigration stamp in their passports if they waited at the airport as a transit passenger, “and therefore could be considered as they did not go to India”.
Showing a rather detailed understanding of protocols attached to diplomatic passports, the website speculated that “as all the MPs have the red diplomatic passport, and any diplomat waiting as a transit passenger will be provided services from the VIP lounge, it would be very easy for anyone waiting in the lounge airport to meet senior officials of the company [without passing through immigration].”
The website threatened that “more proof awaits”, should Thasmeen and Shahid continue to deny the allegations.